Harry Potter Presents Opening Up the Summer Trunk

“All Harry’s spellbooks, his wand, robes, cauldron, and top-of-the-line Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick had been locked in a cupboard under the stairs by Uncle Vernon the instant Harry had come home [for summer holiday]. What did the Dursleys care if Harry lost his place on the House Quidditch team because he hadn’t practiced all summer? What was it to the Dursleys if Harry went back to school without any of his homework done?”   All students have different motivations for opening up their school trunk and delving into an assigned list of summer reading while completing math packets, themed projects, and quilled essays. Hermione, too, spends her summer “busy with schoolwork, of course,” while “Ron in horror says, ‘How can she be [doing that]? We’re on vacation!’” The Harry Potter guide wants students to know summer homework is more than just maintaining the skills you have strived to build all year. It is a time of relaxation to work at your own pace while engaging in reading, math, and writing opportunities. In starting a new term, students truly will be ready and “brilliant.”

The “Pensieve” Experience

As you hold a book in your hands and read its pages, how long does it take before you feel yourself “bending closer… thrown forward and pitched headfirst” inside? Not all books allow you to feel transported into the setting and see firsthand the room, the action, and the characters within your story. Sometimes, help is needed to become actively engaged; therefore, try a different approach. With an app on their iPhone, students can enjoy more challenging titles through the experience of listening to an audio book. By taking notes using the Cornell method, students may discover a new strategy to help remember characters or the sequence of events while writing essays or, perhaps, preparing for future tests or quizzes. Summer is also a time to learn from mistakes and find ways to become a more successful student.      

Quill and Ink Bottle

“It was nearly midnight, and [Harry] was lying on his stomach in bed, the blankets drawn right over his head like a tent, a flashlight in one hand and a large leather-bound book, A History of Magic, by Bathilda Bagshot, propped open against the pillow…. Harry moved the tip of his eagle feather quill down the page, frowning as he looked for something that would help him write his essay….” How easy is it to write an account of humorous stories and personal experiences to a friend? The words flow, because we can envision our friend’s face and her reaction. Writing an essay creates a feeling of stress from worrying about the reader’s judgment; instead, think about what makes you a great communicator. Relax. Find a useful strategy, such as writing or recording key phrases or examples in preparation. With continued practice, writing becomes easier. (And, be grateful that your writing tools do not consist of parchment, quill, and ink bottle.)

“Arithmancy” and Ancient Runes

In the wizarding world, “Arithmancy” can be described as predicting the future using numerology, while Ancient Runes studies numbers through runic scriptures. Yes, I agree—it does sound complicated; however, rest assured, mathematics in the Muggle world is universal. Why not take the opportunity to improve your speed and accuracy in computation, or start solving various kinds of problems, such as long division, multiplying multiple-digit numbers, or algebraic equations? Interested in learning something new? Try delving into a new study, such as astronomy, physics, or chemistry. When reading about various notable scientists and their findings, you may find them worthy of your time and attention.  


Beyond the books, quills and ink bottles is the natural world. How wonderful would it be to “apparate” into Diagon Alley and “sit in the bright sunshine outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor,” with Florean himself offering a “free sundae every half an hour”? Think in broader terms of museums and historic places near and far. There’s an opportunity to experience the outdoors and learn some form of knowledge every day.

Before you know it, an owl will soon sweep through the window to deliver your new school supply list. Until then, enjoy the days of summer, and keep improving your skills and techniques with books, parchment, quill, and broom.